This Sunday is the 33rd annual @AIDSWalkPhilly—here's a #thread about a different kind of #AIDS walk in #Philadelphia—the city's first candlelight AIDS vigil, in 1986.

#twitterstorians #everythinghasahistory…
@AIDSWalkPhilly The first Candlelight Walk for #AIDS in #Philadelphia took place on September 25, 1986. Earlier that month, the Department of Public Health reported 479 cases of AIDS in the Philadelphia area, and 298 had died.

See video of the walk:

@AIDSWalkPhilly Of reported cases, 50% were African American—ten points higher than their share of the total #Philadelphia population. But #AIDS agencies were predominantly white, and rooted in the #Gayborhood, which was itself seen as a mostly white space.
@AIDSWalkPhilly The walk started at State Office Building on Broad, went down Spring Garden to 19th, then the Parkway to City Hall, drawing attention to the need for more city and state funding for #AIDS. Organizers didn't want the walk to be "too white gay male" by going through the #Gayborhood
@AIDSWalkPhilly Some white gays objected; one wrote to local gay paper Au Courant to say, "We couldn't even... remember our own in the setting where they had lived most comfortably." Another accused lesbians on the committee of having been "strangely silent while men, gay men, died of AIDS."
@AIDSWalkPhilly Broadly speaking, this was not true. See Jennie Brier’s "Locating Lesbian and Feminist Responses to AIDS, 1982-1984” for more.
@AIDSWalkPhilly The walk ended with a rally featuring speakers, including @BabetteJosephs, @annasforbes, @rabbilinda, Councilman Angel Ortiz, and Rashidah Hassan of @bebashi. Sponsors included @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop and @breadrosesfund

(thanks to @EGonzaba for digitizing this pamphlet)
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba Here Rashidah Hassan gave her "Malcolm X speech," resigning from the board of Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives and encouraging the crowd to get involved with @bebashi, the Black AIDS service organization she'd founded the year before.…
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba In this interview segment, Hassan talks about her difficulty in giving the speech, and her feelings about having been made out to be PCHA's "colored poster child":…
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba And in this segment, she talks about the backlash she experienced from the local #AIDS community.…
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba So @bebashi struck out on its own, with some help from @1199CNUHHCE. Two years later the organization received a major @CDCgov grant for minority AIDS education. Several years later, Hassan appeared on @nprfreshair to talk about her work.

@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba @1199CNUHHCE @CDCgov @nprfreshair But her organization grew very quickly, and ran into financial difficulties that plagued other groups—managing big government grants is difficult work, especially when you're also trying to stop a deadly epidemic from decimating your community.
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba @1199CNUHHCE @CDCgov @nprfreshair Hassan resigned from @bebashi in 1994, and was succeeded by Gary Bell (@AIDSFIGHTER), who has been in the job ever since.

Here he is, with @MagicJohnson
@AIDSWalkPhilly @BabetteJosephs @annasforbes @Rabbilinda @bebashi @PATGiovannisRm @thebikestop @breadrosesfund @EGonzaba @1199CNUHHCE @CDCgov @nprfreshair @AIDSFIGHTER @MagicJohnson Want to know more? Collections at @waygay and @scrc_temple document Philadelphia #AIDS history, including the @bebashi story. Also check out the African American AIDS History Project to learn more about African American AIDS #activism:…
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